Choux Puff Flower Basket

Russian piping tips are different from the regular piping tips, in that there are intricately designed cut outs on the end of the tip, so that in one shot, you’ll get both the centers and flower petals. In other words, you pipe a complete flower at once, instead of piping petal by petal to form the entire flower. How convenient is that! It is probably the best starting point for a person who has never tried buttercream flower piping before. I tried these jumbo piping tips using a simple American buttercream recently, to decorate some choux cream puffs.

Do not look down on these Russian piping tips. They require practice and technique in order to produce beautiful flowers as well. One of the challenges that I faced when piping the flowers was that they did not stick on the pastry cream when I lifted up the piping tip. So, I had to actually push the piping tip into the pastry cream slightly before I started piping. Only by doing so, the flowers got “planted” firmly on the pastry cream. Apart from that, buttercream that is too soft also makes piping more difficult. As a result, the petals and centers of the flowers have rough cuts and edges. The worst case? They just become a blob of buttercream. 😅 Therefore, a piece of advice for beginners: start practising with a stiffer buttercream first, especially when the ambient temperature of your kitchen is warm like summer.

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I will surely experiment and practise more using Russian piping tips in the future. They are so adorable, aren’t they? Here’s a video to show you the steps of making the choux puff flower baskets:

Ingredients (yield: 9 -10 puffs)

(A) Choux puff

Milk 50g
Water 50g
Salt 1g
Butter 45g
Plain flour 60g
Egg (chilled at 4 degree Celsius) 120g

(B) Pastry cream

Milk 450g
Sugar 100g
Whole egg 2 no.
Custard powder (or Corn starch) 27g
Vanilla essence 1 tsp
Salt, a pinch

(C) Buttercream

Butter, softened 250g
Icing sugar 75g
Lemon juice  55g
Gel colouring, as needed

Method:

  1. Preheat oven at 200 degrees Celsius.
  2. Prepare a baking tray, lined with parchment paper. Draw 9 – 10 circles of 5cm in diameter.
  3. In another baking tray with parchment paper, draw straight lines of 5cm in length.
  4. To make the choux pastry: In a pot, put water, milk, butter and salt together. Bring it to a rolling boil on medium-high heat; and make sure all butter has melted. (Note: at this point, you may keep the eggs in the refrigerator to stay chilled, if your kitchen is very warm)
  5. Once the butter mixture is boiling, add in all the plain flour. Mix quickly to form a dough. Continue to cook and stir the dough until it forms into a ball that comes away from the sides of the pan. A thin film forms at the bottom of the pot.
  6. Turn off the heat. Transfer the dough to a mixing bowl.
  7. Immediately, add chilledcold eggs in 2-3 additions. Ensure all the egg has been absorbed into the dough. If you scoop up some dough with your spatula and let it slide back into the bowl, it should leave a little “V” on the spatula.
  8. Transfer choux pastry to a piping bag. Snip a small hole at the tip of the piping bag. Pipe U-shape above the straight lines. These will the handles of baskets.
  9. Bake for 10 – 13 minutes until golden brown. img_3674
  10. On another tray, pipe the choux dough within the circles. Bake for 25 – 30 minutes until the choux pastry is cooked and golden brown. img_3679
  11. Let them cool down completely on a cooling rack.
  12. To prepare pastry cream: Follow the steps as shown in this video below.

  1.  To make buttercream: Beat softened butter and icing sugar together until pale and fluffy. Add lemon juice and beat until smooth and creamy.
  2. Add food colouring to get the three to four different colours, including a green buttercream for the leaves. Transfer buttercream to piping bags fitted with Russian piping tips.
  3. To assemble the choux puff: Slice away horizontally the top 1/3 of the choux puff. Fill the puff with pastry cream. img_3695
  4. Mark the position where the handle of basket will be inserted.
  5. Pipe 3 – 4 buttercream flowers on the pastry cream; make sure you avoid the points where the handle will be inserted later.
  6. Insert the handle. Pipe buttercream leaves around the flowers.
  7. Chill the puffs for about 30 minutes before serving.

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